|Lead Aware Times Volume 1 No. 1 ( ISSN 1440-4966)|
Community Lead Activity
Rotary Leads the Way
A Rotary Lead Poisoning Awareness Project in Inner Sydney distributed 7,000 calico Lead Poisoning Awareness show bags in late 1997.
The LAS was closely associated with the project. Our Community Outreach and Education Officer, Michelle Calvert, assisted Rotary with planning the project. She also developed a special brochure which was included in the show bag.
The lead information kits were distributed by Rotary members throughout Ashfield, Balmain, Drummoyne, Haberfield, Five Dock, Marrickville and Leichhardt.
Point Source Communities
The Lead Advisory Services Community Outreach program continues to support community groups and residents concerned about lead pollution in their community.
Robin Mosman, our Information and Referral Project Officer and Elizabeth O'Brien, the LAS Manager, provided significant assistance in the past quarter to residents in the "point source" community of Boolaroo (Lake Macquarie) where the Pasminco lead smelter is situated. LAS also assisted residents of Broken Hill and a community worker in Mt Isa.
A request from a Boolaroo resident with a lead-poisoned child for assistance in documenting her difficulties has developed into a major LAS commitment to the resident and the wider community.
The LAS project officer responsible, Robin Mosman, has met on a number of occasions with residents, representatives of two local environment groups, staff of the Lake Macquarie Remediation Centre; the director of the Hunter Public Health Unit (PHU); and the EPA.
Arising from this initial contact, the LAS project officer has begun regularly attending meetings of the Lake Macquarie Environmental Health Liaison Committee. These meetings are the only public forum for all members of the community.
LAS felt that some members of the community were unsupported in presenting their difficulties and obtaining meaningful answers to their questions at the Liaison Committee. We therefore started assisting community members to develop their questions and put them in writing so they could get written answers.
Our project officer has also undertaken a community advocacy role between some residents and the various government agencies. The case study into the situation of the particular resident has now been completed (this was published in Lead Advisory Service News vol.1 no.1 1997).
In Broken Hill, the tyranny of distance limits the assistance LAS can offer at this stage to the community.
We are currently helping a resident document her story by pulling together useful background information. The resident has strong concern for the wider Broken Hill community and has informally made contact with many parents of significantly lead-poisoned children, but has no formal network as yet.
LAS is now urging her to form a lead safety group, and has put her in touch with 2 other residents who had contacted LAS for assistance.
After being referred to LAS by the Lead Reference Centre, a newly-appointed community worker in Mt Isa has been supplied with educational materials to assist him in writing information products suitable for his local community, as well as a copy of an opportunistic blood lead survey which has inspired him to change the protocol used in Mt Isa.
Lead and Cars
In an effort to keep up-to-date the network of people interested in car use reduction as a form of lead abatement, Lead Advisory Service NSW (LAS) agreed with Link Up to send a leaflet advertising a public transport conference in our newsletter mail out.
The article "The Problem with Lead" by Elizabeth O'Brien, initially published in Earth Wise Women, describes the connection between people's car use reduction and lead abatement. Earth Wise Women is available by subscription and has the aim of connecting and informing women who are concerned about the environment.
Also as part of the LAS strategy of reducing car usage wherever possible, Elizabeth O'Brien appeared as an expert witness in the Land and Environment Court for the community group Battlers for Bondi Junction. The case involved an attempt to block an application for construction of up to 1,000 new car parking spaces in the Westfield shopping complex in Bondi Junction.
Another development was that the marketers of two lead abatement products that can be added to the petrol tank by drivers, Eco-Gem and The Vehicle Improvement Packô, were supported by LAS through being connected with other people in the network.
In a similar way, community groups who were left out of the consultation process run by NSW EPA over the National Environment Protection Measure Air Standard Draft were put in contact with the network.
Support with Chelation Therapy
An informal group of people undergoing chelation therapy and parents of children undergoing chelation has been set up with the assistance of LAS.
The group is connected by phone calls at their own expense. The very fact that they are prepared to pay the costs (some members are as far away as Perth) is an indication of the value of talking to others who are at a different stage of the therapy (which can go on for many months) and who respond differently to the treatment (it can be very painful).
It has been especially useful for parents who are not actually undergoing the treatment to be able to talk to adults who are, to gain some insight into what their children are going through. But the most enthusiastic feedback comes from those at the beginning of therapy who clearly need to hear about the benefits in order to continue with the costly (un-claimable in cases of low blood lead) therapy.
LAS has given the group referrals to medical experts overseas to help them through the difficult process of working out who to believe when it comes to the question of whether chelation after the blood lead level has returned to low, is beneficial.
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Updated 19 April 2012
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